November 3, 2011

Monday means "What the..." (On Thursday)

There's a commercial for Arby's on TV these days that inspired my "What the..." for the week.  It starts out with a guy falling asleep at the wheel because he's apparently not getting enough Arby's.

Some of my readers may know that over 14  years ago my husband (then 16) was in a horrible car wreck.  He and his sister were driving along a two lane highway in Wyoming when a semi-driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit their car head on.

While my husband escaped the crash with minor injuries, the impact of the crash killed his sister, Shannon, immediately.

Our society spends so much time cautioning us against the dangers of drinking and driving and now texting and driving; however, drowsy driving seems to be getting the shaft, so much so that companies like Arby's think it is okay to use it as a marketing tool to sell their over priced, not so great sandwiches.  I mean, can you imagine any company making light of drunk driving to sell a product?  It's absolutely appalling, and the same standard should be set for drowsy driving.

Not everybody drinks.

Not everybody texts.

But, everybody gets tired, making drowsy driving extremely dangerous and completely under rated.

My mother-in-law is boycotting Arby's until the commercial is off the air.  I will be doing the same.  If you or anyone you know has been the victim of drowsy driving, please consider writing Arby's a complaint.  Or, share this post on your blog, or on Facebook.

Let's make the streets just a little bit safer by demanding smarter advertising.

"What the..."!

P.S. I couldn't find a video of the commercial to post here, so if anyone can find it, please let me know!


  1. I haven't seen the commercial, but I think this is terrible. I totally agree with you.

  2. I did record it but I'm not sure how to get it from my DVR to my computer. But I DO HAVE IT RECORDED!!! I have called corporate headquarters, emailed and written them and complained to the Salt Lake television stations. If you'd like to join in, here's the information:
    Arby's Resturant Group, Inc.
    1155 Perimeter Center West
    Atlanta Georgia 30338

    WHAT THE **** is RIGHT! Thanks for your thoughtful and well written post.

  3. I havent seen the commercial but thanks to your description i just submitted my comment to arby's.

    arby's marketing department needs a new commander and chief!

  4. Agreed. Here is an email response I received from them:

    1. Their initial response:
    Dear Arby’s Friend,

    We’re sorry to hear of your dissatisfaction with our current advertising.

    Many times we choose to use tongue-in-cheek humor and satire in our commercials in an effort to communicate information about the Arby’s menu in an engaging and entertaining manner.

    Your opinion is very important to us, and we thank you for taking the time to provide feedback. The last thing we want to do is offend anyone. We have shared your comments with our marketing and advertising teams so they can be considered in the development of future advertising.

    Very truly yours,

    J. Elder
    Arby’s Customer Relations

    2. My response back:
    After not seeing the commercial with the falling asleep at the wheel theme for months, I saw it again tonight. While I appreciate your initial reply, I am floored at your liberal use of the terms "tongue-in-cheek" and "satire". If you claim the ad is tongue in cheek, then you are joking about people falling asleep while driving. If you claim it is satire, then you would be calling attention to the issue in order to expose the problem(obviously that is not your intent).

    This commercial is offensive and very poorly chosen. Do you have any idea how many people are killed or seriously injured in car crashes every day? I am sorry but your pass the buck email will simply not suffice this time. I am just amazed that a company that I assume is going for a family-friendly approach would allow such a commercial.

    Whoever allowed this commercial to be aired should seriously reconsider their decision making process. In sum, this is very disappointing.

    3. I would post a follow up here but I have not heard back...

  5. I don't watch commercial tv so I haven't seen this. While my life hasn't been impacted by drowsy driving in a major way, it's been close. My husband has sleep apnea and in the past woke up as he drove through a field or a small ditch. It made me nervous for many years. He is doing much better now, but I agree with you. It's not something that should be made light of. Thank you for advocating for this cause. It matters.

  6. This is such a good point. We just recently had a tragic accident down the road from us involving a doctor coming off of a 13 hour day and from all initial reports he drifted off for a second, crossed the yellow line on a narrow road and a fatal accident resulted. This sort of advertising does no one any good at all.
    Stopping by from your SITS day.

  7. so true! I never see anything about driving while tired! It's just as dangerous as driving intoxicated!

    Happy Sits Day!

  8. What a sad thing about your husband's sister! I haven't ever seen this commercial. Maybe it did get pulled. Certainly not in good taste. Happy SITS

  9. What a terrible thing to have happened, and I am happy to join you in taking a stand. In our community three children at my sons' school were orphaned last summer when their car was hit head on by someone that turned around to grab a DVD from their backseat. I don't think people truly understand what a responsibility driving is to yourself and others ALL THE TIME!

  10. AnonymousJune 18, 2012

    Wow, that's awful. So insensitive and CHEESY of Arby's.

  11. Wow... that's horribly insensitive!

    Then again, you know corporations. They'll do anything until somebody complains, then they'll pretend they have a moral compass and apologize.

    I hope you win/won that fight!

    Stopped in from SITS.

  12. I haven't seen the commerical but I am so sorry about what happened to your family. That's terrible.

  13. I was just talking to my husband about this a couple days ago because an accident happened not far from us that was due to falling asleep at the wheel. It happens all the time.

  14. I have to agree completely. I love Utah's campaign and signs along the highway warning of drowsy driving. That stretch between the Nevada boarder, over the salt flats can be awful! Thank you for your comments and I'm so sorry it has come from personal experience. I have to drive 80 miles to grocery shop and I always make sure I'm ready for that kind of day.

  15. Thanks for raising awareness of an issue that is often overlooked and undervalued as a prevalent problem. You are right to boycott Arby's. I didn't see the commercial (I often have to DVR anything that I want to watch these days), but I will check for it now. Do you know if it's still running?
    Congrats on your SITS day!

  16. Thanks for sharing your family's story with us, I haven't seen the commercial but you are right no company should profit or create spin an important issue into advertising humor. You should create a petition form on your blog that visitors can sign and it can't be sent in along with your family's complaint letter to Arbys.

    Also please take a look at this article raising awareness about 'The True Cost of Blackberries, Iphones & Ipads is War and Human Lives!'

  17. I would love to be a fly on the wall of the marketing people when they come up with the idea for their commercials. There are so many that have me scratching my head - didn't anyone think this might not be a great idea?

    My boyfriend is a County detective and always tells me that drowsy driving (in his opinion) is just as dangerous at times as drunk driving. I almost fell asleep on the road and opened my eyes as I was about to rear end the person ahead of me. I didn't. I pulled over. I will never do that again.


  18. Thank you for calling attention to this! I am guilty of briefly falling alseep at the wheel while driving home from a 12 hour night shift as a nurse. Thank God(!) I did not get into any accidents! I simply found myself crossed over the center line after I *thought* I blinked! More definitely needs to be done about people thinking drowsy driving is funny!


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